Volunteer Broad Beans

I wasn’t going to grow Broad beans this year. They are not my most favourite thing. I like the taste of them enough, but mostly I like their flowers, growing habits and soil enhancing abilities.

However, while working on getting the garden organized and ready for planting things, I noticed that I had a handful of broad beans popping up. I never harvested very many of these last year, and obviously wasn’t very diligent in removing the seed pods when I dug the bed up. So they survived winter and started growing.

Things that survive winter instantly make me like them more. I appreciate the tenacity of it I guess.

So these survivors can stay.

Just not where they are currently growing.

So I just moved them. Two are now over by the Jerusalem Artichokes, and the rest are behind the Spring Onions and Elephant Garlic. This is the little Winter Survivors club area.

These 3 were probably all from the same Bean Pod (Great Germination!)

If you are in a similar situation, just take a garden trowel, dig down and lift the little plant up, being careful to not damage the roots. This is much easier if you have loose soil, If you don’t, just be extra diligent about the little plant’s roots. Then you just move them to where you want them. Like potting up other plants, just wait until they have some true leaves and are strong enough to handle the stress, but not so large that they have really set down deeper roots.

I’ll keep you updated in future posts about how these are doing. If you have any suggestions on what I can do with Broad Beans that might help me enjoy them a little more, I would greatly appreciate it.

Variety: ‘Windsor’

The benefit of these seeds surviving the winter and germinating on their own, means that I can continue to save seed of successive generations. This should produce seeds/plants more suited to this ground, and the conditions in my yard.

There, now this Broad Bean is situated in it’s new home
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Update on the Herbs (2016)

I figured it was time for an Herb Update. I’m doing way better with keeping these alive this year too! Here is the big Herb Post where I sowed most of these. I have potted everything up, and sowed some Dill as well.

Spearmint in the back, Lemon Balm in the front

  • Lemon Balm
    • sown: January 23
    • potted up: March 5 (3″ pot)
  • Spearmint
    • sown: January 23
    • potted up: March 5 (3″ pot)
  • Lavender
    • sown: January 23
    • potted up: March 5 (Recycled 6 cell that flowers from the garden center come in)
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  • Thyme
    • sown: March 11
    • potted up: April 9 (Party Cups)
  • Summer Savory
    • sown: March 11
    •  potted up: April 9 (Party Cups)
  • Sweet Marjoram
    • sown: March 11
    • potted up: April 9 (Party Cups)
  • Russian Tarragon
    • sown: March 11
    • potted up: April 9 (Party Cups)
  • Oregano
    • sown: March 11
    • potted up: April 9 (Party Cups)
  • Catnip
    • sown: March 11
    • potted up: April 7 (Party Cups)
    •  
  • Flat Leaf Parsley
    • sown: March 11
    • potted up: April 9 (Party Cups)
  • ‘Champion Moss Curled’ Parsley
    • sown: March 11
    • potted up: April 9 (Party Cups)
  • Chamomile
    • sown: March 11
    • potted up: April 9 (3″ pots)
    •  
  • Rosemary
    • sown: March 11
    • potted up: April 9 (3″ pot)
  • ‘Red Rubin’ Basil
    • sown: March 11
    • potted up: April 9
  • ‘Genovese o Comune’ Basil
    • sown: March 11
    • potted up: April 9 (Party Cups)
  • ‘Lemon’ Basil
    • sown: March 11
    • potted up: April 9 (Party Cups)
  • ‘Lime’ Basil
    • sown: March 11
    • potted up: April 9 (Party Cups)
  • ‘Cinnamon’ Basil
    • sown: March 11
    • potted up: April 9 (Party Cups)
  • Sage
    • sown: March 11
    • These won’t get potted up until they go out into their final pot, as they were sown in larger cells that flowers from the garden center come in.
  • Garlic Chives
    • sown: March 11
    • Just like the Sage, these won’t get potted up until I put them outside in their final pot.
  • Stevia
    • sown: March 14
    • Not potted up yet, I’m just happy that I have ONE that has survived out of the 3 that germinated. Scratch that, I’m just happy that my future Mother-in-Law sent me the seeds so I could get this far. I STILL haven’t found any seeds around here.
  • Dill
    • sown: April 9 (Party Cup)
    • Typically, it is recommended to direct sow Dill, but I figured I would  try and get a little jump on the season. I usually miss out on my Dill because I plant it too late, or I forget to take into account the growth of plants around where I sow it, and it gets shaded out before It really gets established. So maybe, just maybe this will help my Dill situation. Worst case, they don’t like getting transplanted, and I have to direct sow. Best case, I end up with loads of Dill

 

Sorry for the lack of photos on some of the herbs; they turned out blurry. Their pictures in the next update will be better (I hope). I hope your herbs are growing well! Spring is on her way here, I even saw a Robin today.

March 2016 Update

Things are starting to pick up garden wise now. Our weather has been pretty glorious this month. A few little snow falls, but nothing that has really stuck around. It has been a nice change from a few years ago when it was -30 (Celsius)  for nearly the whole month and there was no end in sight to the snow. For once it felt like Spring on the first official day of Spring. So this might be a bit of a long winded update.

**My iPhone is updating right now and I need to go to bed, so I will add some photos in later. I still want to get this posted on the last day of March though. I will have the video up on YouTube this weekend once I am done work for the week and I have the time to put into it. Thanks everyone for understanding! I’ll add in any photos I have already uploaded at the end as possible.**

I sowed my Mexican Purple Garlic into paper pots on March 6. I made a little video to play around with some editing.Once sown, I put them in the fridge to help give them the cold they need to split into bulbs (the ground was still frozen solid). It is an experiment, so I’m interested to see if it will work. On March 22, after waiting for the ground to thaw enough to dig, it was finally ready for the garlic to go outside. Despite the paper pots being frozen solid (because my fridge likes to think its a freezer sometimes), I was kind of amazed to see little roots on some of the pots that broke apart. If everything goes right, I should end up with 20 bulbs of purple garlic! Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Also, while rooting around in the dirt outside (on March 22), finding areas that are ready to be turned over for Spring, I discovered the the Elephant Garlic that I planted last year (that did absolutely nothing), has sprouted! Also, the Spring Bunching Onions are growing well. I’m glad I left them there for the winter. I never would have guessed that they would survive to Spring. All 3 rhubarb crowns are starting to poke their heads up.

On the 26th and 27th, I got some of the digging done outside in the areas that are starting to thaw out. Mostly I got a lot of the winter build up of dog poo picked up. I moved the little stack of wood that will be in our way when we finally start working on the patio. Some of the wood I used to start building the edges of the beds. Any of it that was a little too small or too rotten to use, I re-stacked over on the other side of our house where the mason bee house is. It will be a good bug habitat over there. I’ll be trying to get as much digging done as possible to be able to plant sooner. I also got started on digging the new bed by the garage – For the clematis and hopefully grapes. Ideally we will be getting the patio done this year… but I did say that last year and our bricks are still sitting stacked out in our driveway.

On the 28th, I started working on the bed by the apple tree too. I was thinking of trying to grow watermelon there, BUT it might be too shady there for them. Now I am contemplating putting strawberries in it, or just growing some beans there. Only time will tell.

Moving onto the stuff I’ve started inside:

The ‘Northern Gold’ Onions I sowed on December 27 are doing well. They are a little smaller that I would expect at this time, but with some heat and sunshine I think they’ll perk right up. The second sowing on early January in the individual cells is doing well… Well the 2 that survived a bit of neglect, when I didn’t realize they had dried out as much as they had.

Peppers: The Habanero and The Hungarian Hot Wax peppers are doing fantastic. I potted them up on March 23. The Cayenne are also doing well, even though the germination rate has been shit. I put 4 seeds in every peat pellet, and only one came up in 4 out of 6 pellets. The other 2 I sowed again with 4 more seeds, and only one sprouted. So it looks like I will have 5 cayenne plants not 6. Disappointing considering they are new seeds. The Serrano Peppers I sowed on March 6 are doing great. As are the ‘Big Dipper’ Bell Peppers I sowed the same day. I’ll probably be potting up all the rest very soon. Here is the post from when I sowed them.

Tomatoes: The bunch (Part 1 here) I sowed on March 15 are doing incredible. I am always amazed at how quickly tomatoes grow. The bunch I sowed on March 23 (Part 2 here) are just starting to poke their heads out. Boxcar Willie won that sprouting race – It poked its head out on the 27th. Part 3 will be in the April update.

Ground Cherries: I am so interested to see how these will grow in a container. I have 4 peat pellets of them, so I think I will try 2 in a container, and 2 in the ground. They are starting to put on their first and second sets of true leaves and will be ready to pot up soon.

Strawberries: I originally sowed 12 pellets of ‘Patio Temptation’, and 6 germinated. Then I mistakenly let them dry out, and now I’m down to 3. But they are growing well. Slow, but they tend to grow slowly anyway. I picked up a pack of ‘Ozark Beauty’ strawberry plants at Home Depot, and plunked each one into a red solo cup to keep them growing rather than rotting away in a bag. 10 plants for $5. There were actually 11 in the bag. However, 3 of them still haven’t done anything in their cup. I’ll give them until early April before I decide to scrap the duds. Plus, if the weather keeps up, these can probably get moved outside soon.

Flowers:

Since I just updated you on the flowers a few days ago, I’ll just link to that post rather than repeat the same story here.

In addition to what is in the Flower post, I have some Tulips that I have been trying to force a little inside until I can dig around enough to get them outside. I just want them to start to make some roots and get a little head start. I put half of them outside on the 28th, and I’ll stick the rest out in a week or two. I always forget about the fall bulbs I find on sale, OR I find them on sale well after my garden is under snow.

When I found the ‘Ozark Beauty’ Strawberries at Home Depot, I also picked up a little pack of ‘Jackamanni’ Clematis that had 2 plants in it. I plunked them into some red solo cups to keep them alive. They are growing very well, and now the pressure is on to get their home created. (Which I started on the 27th!)

Outside, My delphiniums have little buds starting under the cover of their leaf mulch. And I noticed that the Lupin and Hollyhocks have some little surface buds. The foxgloves look like they didn’t even stop growing under the snow. I am also hoping that the daffodils I planted last year will come back. I’m not sure if they got enough energy stored up last summer or not. So more finger crossing here. I seem to be on a bit of a flower kick this year, so don’t be surprised if I add more bulbs and flowers around later this year.

Herbs:

The Lemon Balm, Lavender and Spearmint that were sown January 23, are doing great. I potted them up on March 5, and I’ve had to trim them a couple times since then. I want them to develop good, strong, bushy growth now before I send them outside and neglect them a little. I’ve moved them away from the lights and into the windows to get them a little more used to real sunlight.

The germination on most of the herbs I sowed earlier in the month was pretty amazing. A few things are a bit slower: The Rosemary, Sage and both types of Parsley are just sprouting now, but everything else was up in at least 6 days. I am still waiting for the Stevia, but I did see some tiny sprouts on March 22 when I was gently rooting around the soil. I added a few more seeds, so I will keep my fingers crossed that it decides to grow. As of March 30th, I have 3 sprouts in 2 of the pellets. I really hope that I get more sprouts soon.

Moving back outside, the Chives are putting on good growth. I also check my Chocolate Mint daily for signs of life (still waiting). If I can keep all these herbs going, I should have a decent amount to dry for storage. I’m hopeful that I can save some of my own seed from them as well. My lilacs and the crab apple tree are starting to develop buds. The trees should start developing their leaves too.

How was March in your area? Leave a comment below, and please check out my YouTube video update for this month… It should be up on the weekend, this week has just been too busy and crazy to get everything filmed and edited. We are still waiting to save up for our new camera, so the iPhone updates continue for now.

March 2016 Post Links:

Peppers, March 6 Random Update; Lettuce; Face Cream Review; Mexican Purple Garlic; Herbs; Garden Planning; Tomatoes 1; Carrots; Tomatoes 2; Flowers

‘Hungarian Hot Wax’ and ‘Habanero’ Peppers


Herbs, flowers, tomatoes (round 2)

  

Some of the things under the lights… Back is all flowers, left is Cayenne Peppers, right is Stevia


‘Ozark Beauty’ Strawberries 

  

‘Alaska’ Peas are popping up… I’ll let them get some growth, then they’ll go straight outside… They can handle some light frost.


 

Flowers for 2016 (so far)

I have decided to put some honest effort into growing more flowers this year. Bees and Butterflies and other friendly bugs should be happy!

IMG_2369
Lupin & Bumble Bee (2015)

Apart from the bedding plants that I usually buy every year, I already have a few trusty perennials in the yard: 2 colours of Delphinium, a deep pink/red Lupin, a purple Lupin that I grew from seed (pretty proud of myself on that one); and a few bulbs I planted that I am waiting to see if they come back this year. There is also some Foxgloves that I bought AND sowed last year, that should come back, and a few lillies that will also hopefully come back….

IMG_2175
Chives (2015)

Also, chives. To me, they live in that grey area between flowers and herbs. Last year I expanded them around the yard to enjoy more of their beautiful flowers and their resilience to our winter. Because, it is always uplifting to see some green poking out from beneath the snow after a long winter. Out front, I have a few Iris rhizomes that I’ve carried around with me most places I have lived long enough to garden. I think I will move some of the smaller ones to the back yard later this Spring.

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I forgot the name of this lily, but I think it is something like ‘Commander in Chief’. Its planted with the Purple Lupin that I sowed my self (2015)

As for the new additions this year, so far, I have sown:

  • Hollyhocks: I’ve grown these the last few years, but they have yet to flower. So I’m adding a few more in this year. I sowed 9 cells of these originally, with 2 seeds per cell on February 21. Only 2 germinated. I waited and waited and waited. So I resowed 4 cells on March 11, and only 1 more germinated. (the other 3 cells were for Sweet William, but we’ll get to them). So after a month of waiting around for Hollyhocks to wake up and germinate, I have 3 little seedlings.
    • Variety: ‘Country Romance Mix’ (Perennial)
    • Their description says: “Large 8-13cm rose, white, maroon, yellow and pink single flowers are produced on tall stalks from July to September”
    •  
  • Sweet William: As I mentioned above, after some hollyhocks didn’t germinate, I sowed 3 of the 9 cells with Sweet William. Which germinated within a few days!  I sowed these on March 11
    • Variety: ‘Mixed Colors’ (Biennial)
    • Their description says: “Vivid colors and spicy scent make this a garden standout. The blooms are eye-catching bicolors in combinations of red, pink and white. Flower clusters as large as 6” accross. Very pretty and easy to grow. Self-seeds. Brilliant for bedding or borders. Blooms in its second year. Zone 3.”
    •  
  • Malva: After waiting and waiting for the damn Hollyhocks, I plunked some ‘Zebrina’ Malva seeds in. They were up within a handful of days too. Really making me wish I had just sowed these from the beginning. They are a perennial to Zone 5. They may end up being an annual for me in this case, depending on the winter we have. I sowed them on March 11. They are heirloom seeds, so I can save my own seed from them if possible.
    • Variety: ‘Zebrina’ (Perennial)
    • Their description says: “A magnificent perennial bearing gorgeous 30″ flower spikes filled with 2″ lavender striped blooms. Malva blooms all summer long and combines very well in the perennial border with phlox or bright yellow Yarrow. Zone 5”
    •  
  • Columbine: I was pretty excited when these came up. I’ve grown them before, but I’ve never kept them alive to be able to flower. I always get distracted by vegetables. So this year, hopefully I’ll be able to keep my attention span for these little seedlings. I sowed them on February 21
    • Variety: ‘Long Spurred Mix’ (Perennial)
    • Their description says: “Strong, sturdy stems are covered with attractive, spurred, nodding two-toned 4” flowers. Intense colors add charm and beauty to your landscape. Easy to care for, free-blooming and heat tolerant. Rich, sandy and well drained soil. Perennial. Zone 3.”
    •  
  • Carnations: I had doubts that these were going to germinate because the seed is a little older, but they popped right up! I sowed them on February 21.
    • Variety: ‘Chabaud Giant Mix’ (Annual)
    • Their description says: “Beautifully scented 2 1/2″ blossoms, produce a waterfall of brilliant mixed shades of pink, red, white and yellow. Perfect for borders, rock gardens, containers and for cutting.”
    •  
  • Impatiens: Looking for something to put in the front garden bed that is pretty shaded, I found these. Hopefully I can keep them alive to get them out there.  I sowed them March 24
    • Variety: ‘Tropical Fizz Hybrid’ (Annual)
    • Their description says “Brighten up the shady areas of your flower beds with this delightful and vibrant mix of pink, lavender, salmon, red, orange an white. Grows 8-10″ tall”
    •  
  • Lavatera: My grandma always grew these and saved her seed every year. She gave me some, but I’ve misplaced the pack she gave me. So I found an heirloom pack to sow and save my own every year just like she did… as long as I can keep them alive. I sowed them March 24.
    • Variety: ‘Silvercup’ (Annual)
    • Their description says: “Dense, bushy, mound-shaped plants are clad in attractive, dark green foliage and covered with 4” flowers. The brightest of all mallow blooms! Ideal as a mixed border or a quick growing, compact summer hedge. Easily grown.
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  • Cobaea: I saw these and couldn’t resist. Ideally, they will grow up the south facing wall on the garage with the clematis and maybe Grapes that I want to grow. But, I still need to get the bed created. I sowed them March 24.
    • Variety: ‘Cathedral Bells’ (Annual)
    • Their description says: “Exotic climber for a sunny wall or terrace. Large bell-shaped flowers turn from bright green to a deep purple. Use against walls, fences and pergolas.”
    •  

Well, that is all I have sown thus far… I still want to sow some Cosmos, Marigolds and Calendula, and a few other annual flowers… possibly some Nasturtiums. But I may just pick some bedding plants up and save my space for the veggies I want to grow.

Also, I mentioned about the clematis I want to grow. I picked up a bag of them (and a bag of strawberries) at Home Depot a few weeks ago, and plunked the 2 plants of ‘Jackamanni’ into some Red Solo Cups. Hopefully this will keep them going until their home is created and it is safe to put them outside.

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Foxgloves (2015)

 

 

 

Sprouting Seeds (Alfalfa Sprouts)

Part of the problem of having a garden full of vegetables in the summer is having to buy fresh vegetables in the winter. They are never as good, and spending money on vegetables seems wrong after a summer of free fresh veggies.

To help fill in the gaps of fresh grown green food… I started Sprouts for fresh greens in sandwiches.

They are super easy to grow and it takes seconds a day for about 6 days before you have delicious and homegrown greens.

You don’t need anything more than a large mason jar and a little piece of screen. Although you could buy a fancy seed sprouting tray. But I prefer the mason jar. Just make sure you upgrade to a 1L jar, I tried in a 500ml wide mouth but the amount of seeds were too much. You could obviously use less seeds, but then you have less sprouts…. So whatever suits your needs the best.

You will also want to get a second jar going about halfway through the 6 days. Otherwise you need to wait for more sprouts.

You also want to NOT FORGET about these! The smell is horrendous! So while it only takes a few seconds a day to rinse and shake these, it is really easy to mistakenly forget about those few seconds on a busy day. Don’t make the mistake because it is disgusting!

I started with Alfalfa Sprouts. I plan on grabbing some Broccoli next, and possibly a few other kinds. There is a lot of different seeds to try, and you get a lot for less than $5… And I’m sure you could find them much cheaper online.